South Africa has been warned by a United States official to diversify it reliance on textile exports to the US by expanding into other industries.

Richard Lugar, who introduced the African Growth and Opportunity Act bill last month, said South African textile exports would come under pressure from more efficient Asian competitors after quotas are abolished in 2005.

He said other export industries, such as agriculture, appeared "promising" for African countries.

However, he said US agricultural subsidies would be a barrier to such a move.

"The win-win solution would be to reduce farm subsidies worldwide, but the recent collapse of global trade talks in Cancun over this issue proves there's no quick solution," he said.